Anthropogenic Influences on Raccoon Problem-Solving Capabilities
Raccoons are considered generalists which means that they easily adapt to changes in their environment. Because of this, raccoons are often seen rummaging through dumpsters full of human trash for their next meal. We believe that as a result of such close interactions, raccoons are losing their innate ability to assess risk. It is important to study the relationships between raccoons and humans to ensure the welfare of both species. To do this, boxes with different locking mechanisms were baited and deployed in different areas around Ames and motion-triggered cameras were set up to monitor any disturbance of the boxes. We noticed that the raccoons living in closer proximity to humans visited the box more, spent more time working on the box, and also visited the box more often after solving it and obtaining the reward than the raccoons who live farther away from humans.
Principal Investigator(s): Michael Rentz